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By | December 10, 2007

      Ariane 5 Set To Launch Two Missiles, Arianespace Announces

      An Ariane 5 GS lifter this month is set to launch two satellites into orbit from the European spaceport in French Guiana in South America, Arianespace announced.

      The two satellites for the record sixth Ariane 5 mission of 2007 reached new milestones in their pre-flight preparation, with Horizons-2 and Rascom 1 advancing closer to integration with the launcher at the spaceport.

      Horizons-2 has now been fueled, while Rascom 1 was mounted on its interface adapter. Such simultaneous operations are performed in the S5 payload processing facility.

      Horizons-2 is loaded with propellant in the S5A filling hall, one of three main preparation zones in the S5 building. After the fueling process, it will then be ready for launch vehicle integration. Horizons-2 was built by U.S.-based Orbital Sciences for Horizons Satellite LLC. and will meet the growing demand for telecommunications, HDTV and IP- based content distribution in North America.

      In the S5B integration high-bay, Rascom 1 was mounted to the cone-shaped adapter that will serve as its interface with the Ariane 5.

      Rascom 1 is the first Pan-African telecommunications satellite and was built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RascomStar-QAF).

      Soyuz To Launch Radarsat-2 Friday From Baikonur Cosmodrome

      A Soyuz vehicle will carry Radarsat-2 into orbit on Friday, lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in a mission organized by Arianespace affiliate Starsem.

      Satellite and launch vehicle preparations are continuing to lead up to liftoff.

      The satellite has been installed on the adapter that serves as its interface with the launcher, and the spacecraft has undergone pre-launch electrical testing.

      The work was performed in clean room conditions at the Starsem Upper Composite Integration Facility at Baikonur.

      In parallel, the Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage completed its pneumatic tests, and has been loaded with the propellant that will be used in delivering Radarsat-2 to its sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of approximately 800 kilometers.

      It was transferred to the Starsem Upper Composite Integration Facility a week ago as planned.

      The Soyuz is set to lift off at 7:17 p.m. Friday (local time at Baikonur, 2:17 p.m. in Paris) on the 20th commercial Soyuz mission managed by Starsem.

      Radarsat-2 is the follow-on to the Canadian Radarsat-1 platform, which was launched in 1995. Missions to be performed by this commercial C-band synthetic aperture radar satellite include marine surveillance, ice monitoring, disaster management, environmental monitoring, resource management and mapping in Canada and around the world.

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